“She looks like Malibu Barbie and sounds equally as dumb. Like she is the role model I want for my girls.”
I sat and listened to two women talk at a long, crowded Starbucks table as their young daughters played on an iPad. I tried to focus on my laptop screen, but considering our elbows were practically touching, it was difficult.
“She’s just wretched. And definitely not smart. A total media whore. I’m not sure how she got to where she is today, but I have a feeling it wasn’t always her brains. He probably just hired her because he thought she was pretty.”
I cringed and looked over to the young girls, one intently viewing the screen, the other quietly focused on the two women talking. I knew the discussion centered around Trump aide Kellyanne Conway, a woman I didn’t particularly care for either, but I felt increasingly uncomfortable with just how much centered on the successful woman’s hair color as opposed to her policy viewpoints.
I am a frequent visitor to coffee shops around my town. Most of my work is done alone in front of a computer screen, so I like to get out of the house sometimes and work remotely. If a latte comes with that, so be it.
My satellite office visits are often spent side by side with others working silently on their computers, but sometimes you just can’t help honing in on other’s conversations.
Like the time when two women with their children playing nicely at their feet called Hillary Clinton a hag and that they hoped she used her free time and all her money from speaking engagements to get a face lift.
Or the time a group of young women waiting in line to order their drinks discussed a female co-worker in their office who they were convinced was sleeping her way to the top. I was in line behind them, and two young teenage girls in Catholic school uniforms and knee socks stood directly in front of them.
Or the time a few years back when I sat at a round table with some girlfriends, and there was a lengthy, uncomfortable discussion about a mom at our school who decided to get a boob job, although it did not turn out well.
“I think she did it because that’s all she has. She’s not very smart, so she has to keep the looks up. And I don’t think she wants to go back to work, so it probably makes her husband happy.”
“Ixnay on the oobnay talk,” I remarked as our kids came downstairs to grab some snacks.
“Whatever,” our host replied. “It’s not like she doesn’t deserve it prancing around the way she does.”
The notion that women are catty and petty to each other is nothing new, but I believe it has moved up a notch the last few months. In the past decade, women have advanced economically and educationally, seen improvements in sexual freedoms and access to health care, experienced political triumphs and increased business success; yet we still criticize individuals looks with such animosity.
And we do so in front of our girls.
We can blame the media for the disproportionate body commodification that occurs.